A Tangle of Umbilical Cords

It all starts very well. Project management is highly competent and the different sending locations are committed and engaged. The new shared service center or SSC appears to be well on its way of fulfilling its promise of providing an effective avenue for cost management and  opening up a rich, new talent pool to tap into.

All too quickly, though, inertia sets in. Each succeeding process migration appears to be getting harder and harder to complete. The company is now wondering how something so obviously advantageous can now appear increasingly contentious.

It will not be unusual if the legacy relationship between each process migrated to the service center and the sending functional unit will essentially remain intact. If so, as the SSC expands it will begin to constitute a huge collection of processes caught in a tangle of umbilical cords to the residual organizations in the many sending locations.

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Factors to consider for an effective SSC

There are many possible areas where issues may arise during the nascent stages of building a service center as the illustration above will show. Nevertheless, one of the most often neglected aspects of building a service center is defining a sustainable business model for the new organization. The SSC is an organic unit and should be expected to operate as such. It needs to acquire a distinct character – a recognizable brand – that the local labor market can identify with, that can attract the best talent, and serve as a clarion call for process excellence.

Is your SSC still waiting to be born after all these years?

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